How to Start a Blog with Michelle Schroeder

#46: From Side Project to $130,000/mo Blogging with Michelle Schroeder of Making Sense of Cents

About the Episode:

In today’s episode, we’re talking to Michelle Schroeder, the blogger and online educator behind the personal finance website, Making Sense of Cents.

Michelle got her start with personal finance in her own life when, after graduating from college and getting her MBA, she’d accumulated more than $38,000 in student loan debt.

That led Michelle to take a job in financial services industry and after realizing she wasn’t making much of a dent in her student loan debt, she started hustling hard to take on freelance gigs outside of her day job, and began getting serious about cutting costs & saving more money each month with the goal of paying down her debt, which she was able to do relatively quickly once she set her mind to it.

And that’s when her blog, Making Sense of Cents was born—to share her journey through the process of paying down her debts, and that blogging side project gradually started to earn her some serious income – mostly from affiliate commissions and the occasional sponsored post.

Today, Michelle’s blog and online course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing made her over $1.5 Million dollars fun 2017 with an average month looking something like $125,000 to $130,000 in revenue. What’s more, is that Michelle openly shares all of her monthly income reports with very detailed breakdowns showing exactly how she’s generating this kind of monthly income from her blog—so if you haven’t seen them yet, take a look.

In Today’s Episode, We Talk About:

[03:04] What book she’s reading at the moment.
[03:40] How she started
[05:28] What generated income for blog her after her first sponsored post.
[07:15] Why she started the blog in the first place.
[08:43] What her early traffic sources were.
[09:52] How she was able to get links and mentions to the blog.
[10:56] A breakdown of her major revenue sources today.
[13:25] How she created her first online course.
[16:52] What her marketing funnel looks like.
[17:58] What her traffic sources look like now.
[19:10] A brief look at her mailing list.
[20:01] How she manages her online courses.
[20:55] Her number one piece of advice for anyone who wants to start a blog today.
[21:17] Sacrifices she’s had to make to grow her business.
[22:26] Ideas she’s tried in the past that have failed.
[23:20] The best investment she’s ever made in growing her business.

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Resources Mentioned:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My Ultimate Guide: How to Start a Blog (on the Side) and Make Money Blogging

Connect with My Guest:

Making Sense of Cents

Michelle on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter

Subscribe, Review, & Share:

If you enjoyed this episode of The Side Hustle Project, I would love your support. Head over to the show on iTunes or in the Apple podcast app and give us a rating please! And as always you can catch every episode on the Apple podcast app, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for tuning in.




10 responses to “#46: From Side Project to $130,000/mo Blogging with Michelle Schroeder of Making Sense of Cents”

  1. John Avatar

    Love to listen and love to learn from her. The remarkable story turns on the light for us.
    As a young blogger with less experience, I am excited to learn.
    Again, thanks, Ryan.

    1. Ryan Robinson Avatar

      You’re welcome! I, too have a lot to learn from Michelle 🙂

  2. Max Chiossi Avatar

    That’s a very cool story indeed.
    I’ll check her guide out right away.
    Thanks for this episode, Ryan!

    1. Ryan Robinson Avatar

      Hell yes! Thanks for tuning in Max 🙏

  3. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Avatar

    Thanks for sharing my story!

  4. migy Avatar

    so she’s making serious money not from any real information from her blog but for SELLING her course on how to write a blog. Her whole blog is centered around getting readers to sign on to her course. Basically if you take away her course, she’d be earning hardly any money.

    1. Pat Avatar

      Well, having just listened to the podcast and checked Michelle’s income report for September (, looks like she’d still be making around $36,000 per month EXCLUDING the course… Not sure what job you have, but that’s not too bad to start with. Secondarily, I imagine anyone making it to that level would have an incentive to create content sharing the method through which they got there. Either way, seems like a pretty strong motivator from my perspective…

  5. Alberto Avatar

    Hi Ryan,
    many months ago I subscribed to a free short mail course of yours on starting a blog.
    A month ago decided to start doing what you said there, which took me from getting a hosting to start publishing
    I’m amazed at how much you cover in your posts or mails, but let me tell you this.
    I think you focus way too much in having people get the hosting deal and then you keep going just mentioning stuff.
    I got lost to be honest, managed somehow to make a post and from then on I don’t know what to do next, what am I missing of the critical stuff, should I jump into reaching related groups, promote my stuff? should I configure a mailing list first? Should I openly announce who I am, where I am from, should I use my personal email or make a new one.
    Is it ok if I use bluehost included email?
    Should I use my blog’s mail to create social network profiles or should I create a specific mail for each platform?
    Don’t get me wrong, I think you do a great job, you cover pretty much everything in your posts, which are never boring, but sometimes a bit shallow, long and tiring.
    Do you have more specific content?
    Blogging is a very huge and hard thing to master, as most things in life are, and I don’t pretend to master it in one month or that you give us everything nearly done, but maybe you could link to specific content videos or guides if you don’t feel like doing it yourself.
    Maybe I’m wrong, but take it as a perspective from someone who actually believed in you, in your product, in what you recommend.
    I hope it helps you improve somehow.
    Kind regards

    1. Ryan Robinson Avatar

      Hey Alberto! I really appreciate you sharing this feedback, seriously. I’m always looking to improve my content (and myself in my delivery of what I’ve learned/teach), so this is super constructive feedback. I’m definitely taking it into account for my upcoming revamp of my free course, some video updates and other content updates. 🙏

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